Monday, 26 November 2007

If God interrupted

And while I'm at it...

this one fell out of the things-to-do-sometime pile as well. Once more, I'm not the only one who thinks it's worth sharing, so I can rest the typing fingers. I've copied and pasted it here from this blog - am reproducing it here as well just in case the original vanishes some day. Mind you, I guess it might just as well be me.

Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Don’t interrupt me. I’m praying.
But — you called ME!
Called you?
No, I didn’t call you. I’m praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.
There — you did it again!
Did what?
Called ME.
You said,
“Our Father who art in Heaven”
Well, here I am. What’s on your mind?
But I didn’t mean any thing by it.
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
I always say the Lord’s Prayer.
It makes me feel good, kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Well, all right.
Go on.

Okay, Hallowed be thy name .
Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?
By what?
By “Hallowed be thy name”?
It means, it means . . good grief, I don’t know what it means.
How in the world should I know? It’s just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?
It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense. I never thought about what ‘hallowed’ meant before.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Doing? Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control,
of everything down here like you have up there.
We’re kinda in a mess down here you know.
Yes, I know;
but, have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church.
That isn’t what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You’ve really got a problem there, you know.
And then there’s the way you spend your money –
all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read?
Now hold on just a minute! Stop picking on me!
I’m just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!
Excuse ME.
I thought you were praying for my will to be done.
If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones
who are praying for it.
Like you — for example.
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.
So could I.
I haven’t thought about it very much until now,
but I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.
Now we’re getting somewhere.We’ll work together — You and ME.
I’m proud of You.
Look, Lord, if you don’t mind, I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
You need to cut out the bread.
You’re overweight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in
and remind me of all my hang-ups.
Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME — and here I am.
It’s too late to stop now.
Keep praying. ( . . pause . )
Well, go on.
I’m scared to.
Scared? Of what?
I know what you’ll say.
Try ME.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Ann?
See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she’s told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me.
I’ve sworn to get even with her!
But — your prayer –What about your prayer?
I didn’t — mean it.
Well, at least you’re honest.
But, it’s quite a load carrying around all that bitterness
and resentment isn’t it?
Yes, but I’ll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her. She’ll wish she had never been born.
No, you won’t feel any better. You’ll feel worse.
Revenge isn’t sweet.
You know how unhappy you are –
Well, I can change that.

You can? How?
Forgive Ann.
Then, I’ll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin, will be Ann’s problem — not yours.
You will have settled the problem as far as you are concerned.
Oh, you know, you’re right. You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right all right . . I forgive her.
There now! Wonderful!
How do you feel?
Hmmmm. Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don’t think I’ll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven’t been getting much rest, you know.
Yeah, I know.
But, you’re not through with your prayer are you? Go on.

Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Good! Good! I’ll do that.
Just don’t put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah I know.
Go ahead. Finish your prayer.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory forever.
Do you know what would bring me glory –
What would really make me happy?
No, but I’d like to know. I want to please you now.
I’ve really made a mess of things.
I want to truly follow you.
I can see now how great that would be.
So , tell me . . . How do I make you happy?
YOU just did.

How to Build a Global Community

We found this poster in a church in County Galway, Republic of Ireland, during a holiday in 2005. I had taken photos of the poster, intending to type it up for sharing with friends, and have just come across it in a clear-out. Not surprisingly, I've found many people who have been impressed in the same way - and hence saved me the job of typing it! It's an important document. Enjoy.
  • Think of no one as “them”
  • Don’t confuse your comfort with your safety
  • Talk to strangers
  • Imagine other cultures through their poetry and novels
  • Listen to music you don’t understand - and dance to it
  • Act locally
  • Notice the workings of power and privilege in your culture
  • Question consumption
  • Know how your lettuce and coffee are grown: wake up and smell the exploitation
  • Look for fair trade and union labels
  • Help build economies from the bottom up
  • Acquire few needs
  • Learn a second (or third) language
  • Visit people, places, and cultures – not tourist attractions
  • Learn people’s history
  • Re-define progress
  • Know physical and political geography
  • Play games from other cultures
  • Watch films with subtitles
  • Know your heritage
  • Honor everyone’s holidays
  • Look at the moon and imagine someone else, somewhere else, looking at it, too
  • Read the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Understand the global economy in terms of people, land and water
  • Know where your bank banks
  • Never believe you have a right to anyone else’s resources
  • Refuse to wear corporate logos: defy corporate domination
  • Question military/corporate connections
  • Don’t confuse money with wealth, or time with money
  • Have a pen/email pal
  • Honor indigenous cultures
  • Judge governance by how well it meets all people’s needs
  • Be skeptical about what you read
  • Eat adventurously
  • Enjoy vegetables, beans and grains in your diet
  • Choose curiosity over certainty
  • Know where your water comes from and where your wastes go
  • Pledge allegiance to the earth: question nationalism
  • Think South, Central and North – there are many Americans
  • Assume that many others share your dreams
  • Know that no one is silent though many are not heard. Work to change this.
It was apparently published by, but this domain now seems to be for sale. Whoever they were, they've left a great legacy.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Holiday update: summer 2007

A few comments and photos follow from our wanders during our summer holiday in August & September 2007. They're logged under their correct dates, so if you're interested enough to look at them as a set, start here and then click Newer Post at the end of each entry. And if you're feeling really masochistic, click here for Cassie's parallel saga of health and fitness - around the lanes of Breil.

This is an absolutely tiny collection of photos from the huge amount that Dorothy & Cassie took - oh, the freedom of the digital camera! Hopefully it gives enough of a taste without being too boring for the casual visitor.

On reflection, there seems to be an awful lot of food and drink. We did do other things, honestly. Like sleeping. And shopping. Oh, and wandering around chateaux and markets and churches...

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

L'Abbeye de Fontevraud

Another return visit for the Tilletts, and like our last visit, a glorious day. With its enormous abbey, courtyards, paintings and stonework, Fontevraud is a visual treat.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Another amazing meal

This time, we were in Le Pelican in Vernantes. You see us here with our superb desserts: a honey creme brulee for Cassie, a pile of profiteroles topped with coconut for Milton...

and astonishing square plates containing nine individual desserts each for Dot and Selwyn...

Monday, 3 September 2007

Chateau du Lude

The two couples had gone our separate ways the day before, and on the way back from their visit to Le Mans (Milton's choice), Dot & Milton found this beautiful place when they stopped for refreshment. They then recommended that we also visit and experience the guide, who delivered her commentary in French and then in broken English, both at top speed, gesturing the visitors through this amazing (and still lived-in) property. You can visit the website here.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Chateau de Clos Luce

This stunning chateau has been dedicated to the work and creations of Leonardo da Vinci. With astonishing reconstructions of his ideas - many of which were centuries before its time - it is also a very lovely place to be.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Barbecue time

After all their help and hospitality, we thought we owed Ali and John a return match! So here we are at the start of what turned out to be a very - ahem - alcoholic evening...

(although we all commented that we should have felt very hungover the following day - and, presumably due to the excellent quality French wine, felt much better than we deserved to...)

Thursday, 30 August 2007

A heavenly lunch

... at the Moulin Bleu, near Bourgueil: under the awning, glorious sunshine, and mama-cat with her new kittens - one black, one white; superb food and an amazing view. Heavenly.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

A day at the zoo

The zoo at Doue is an extraordinary place. Created in an old quarry, it provides a natural environment for many animals, who appeared to be very contented there - given the amount of them who had babies!

The red pandas were wonderful. Dorothy's camera has an impressive 12 x zoom, so her photo was much better than mine:

Selwyn & I had visited during an earlier holiday in France, four years ago, and were especially pleased to see one of our favourites - the snow leopards - growing up well. When we saw them in 2003, they were tiny cubs just venturing out to greet their adoring public; now they are huge, but still very recognisably cubs in their playful nature. Not to mention their still disproportionately large paws.

Other favourites included the giraffes ...

... and the vultures ...

... and some of the superb wooden carved animals around the place, just made for photography...

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A visit to the troglodytes

There are many of these amazing places in France, and particularly along the banks of the Loire: dwellings actually built into the rock. In the case of those shown below, they were last lived in around 1960 (if I remember rightly), but we saw many others as we drove around where clearly regular houses had their part-troglodyte construction in the side of the hill.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Four go mad in France

Selwyn & I have spent many happy holidays in different parts of la belle France, and this year we were delighted that our dearest friends, Dorothy & Milton from Bolton, were able to join us.

We chose our area (the Loire valley) based on how far we reckoned we could drive down from the Channel Tunnel in a day, hunted down our gite on the internet, and were thrilled with our choice. Alison & Jon own the wonderful L'Ancienne Cure in the very sleepy village of Breil in Pays de la Loire. Two double bedrooms (unusual, where most properties are double + twin), a lovely garden, huge living/dining room (below), and the best hosts in the world.

Our hosts couldn't have been more helpful and friendly. Alison is a superb cook, demonstrated by the excellent meal they left for us on our late arrival and the first-class meal she cooked for us at their own house the following day.

Drinks before supper at Gue de Ray

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Taverham Brass

Exploding Brass
Not the best photos in the world (my little 3.1 digi camera, with very minor zoom capacity, couldn't cope too well) but this was a really enjoyable concert, with the superb Sole Bay Jazz Band supporting the Taverham Band. Click on the photo above to see a few more photos on Picasa.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Selwyn's 25th anniversary

... of being priested. On 4th July 1982, my husband was ordained priest in the Church of England. Today, we celebrated his 25th anniversary on the feast of St Peter (who, as Selwyn puts it, is reassuring to clergy today as he was so inept at his job). We were joined by parishioners from across the benefice, by friends who were fellow Petreans (Peterhouse, Cambridge) in the 1970s, and by parishioners from his curacy at All Saints, West Dulwich.

a word from our Patron


parishioners on all sides

Bob & Margie (all the way from Chepstow and back in 48 hours)

Peter enjoying the joke

Thursday, 28 June 2007

A day at the Royal Norfolk Show

Well, we've only been in Norfolk just over two years... it was about time we did this!

Unlike most days in the last month, it didn't rain, and the sun showed his face more often than not. Fabulous range of stands, far too many tempting things - we could've bankrupted ourselves many times over. Resisting the pink suede jacket was a triumph of discipline over desire...

I've been roaming through some of the websites for the products we bought, and here are a few favourites.
  • Essence: amazing jams & chutneys (love the Bloody Mary Relish)
  • Norfolk & Suffolk Speciality Foods: more condiments, including vegan & halal - our choice is a fabulous citrus chutney
  • Gourmet Med: site still under construction, but they do the best olive / tomato / artichoke / garlic type saladstuff I've tasted for ages
  • Popina: yummy tarts
Hey - it's all food!!

Friday, 22 June 2007

Pensthorpe again - and clerics

A very good Thursday. We had a concert to prepare for, so wanted a quiet place to sit with files and lists to brainstorm a running order; so went to Pensthorpe again, had a wander round the garden and then sat with our paperwork over lunch. Here are a couple of pleasing sights from the beautiful gardens.

Daisies before the storm (I wished I'd knelt down further to get that tall daisy in front of the sky - it would have been better composition...)

some astonishing fluffy poppies

and finally, to a recording for Radio Norfolk - hopefully for broadcast at some stage - called Clerical Errors: musings, party pieces and observations. Chaired by Keith Skipper (centre), we were much entertained by (L to R) Bishop Peter Fox, Canon Ivan Bailey, Revd Jan McFarlane and Bishop Graham James. The photo is a bit weird on the colouring; it was taken on the mobile, and I managed to take it at the same time as another camera flash went off!

Friday, 1 June 2007

Concert at the King of Hearts

The King of Hearts is a superb arts centre / craft centre / music room / cafe in Norwich. Today we went to see a lunchtime concert given by Ying Lai Green (double bass) with Lauretta Bloomer at the piano. Completely spellbound by the talent of twenty-seven year old Ying Lai; her command over that vast instrument was stunning.

The Kodaly Epigrams were tiny musical pen-and-ink drawings, detailed and evocative. The Schubert Arpeggione Sonata was a completely stunning display of virtuosity; and Ying Lai's description of Bottesini's Fantasie on La Sonnambula was "a bit of fun" - but what fun! Forty-five minutes of sheer magic.

Post script: clearly the reviewer from the Eastern Daily Press enjoyed it, too. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Dawn Chorus Walk at Pensthorpe

One of our dafter ideas...

Pensthorpe is a fabulous place. About 15 miles away from us, just outside Fakenham, it's a delightful nature reserve, with beautiful grounds and amazing birdlife. (Oh, and a very agreeable cafe and shop, too.)

This morning we went on the Dawn Chorus Walk, led by Steve Cale. This started at 5:00 am, and therefore involved getting up at 3:15 am - makes Easter Dawn seem like a doddle. It also means that you lose half the day when you get back, as staying awake just wasn't an option, and we crashed out for about two hours!

However, in a period of heavy rain, we were lucky enough to have a reasonably fine (if cold) morning, and had a great time. Steve's knowledge of birds and their birdsong is unbeatable, and how he can pick out the seven different types of warbler is beyond me - especially when several of them are singing at once! Not to mention chiff-chaffs, blackbirds, wrens and of course robins, amongst many others. And we finished up with a full English breakfast to warm up...

As my digital camera doesn't have a powerful zoom, I haven't taken any photos of the birds themselves, but here are a few of the beautiful place.

a beautiful dawn

listening to reed warblers across the water

through the bluebell woods

a very confused slow-worm

Friday, 20 April 2007


Finally, just outside Whitby (at the foot of the 1-in-4 Lythe Bank - test your brakes!) is Sandsend: a lovely corner with a long beach and some great-looking eateries.

We chose to have coffee, and later lunch, in the Bridge Cottage Cafe, which is excellent; in a lovely sheltered position set just back from the road, it's easy to miss. The food was first-class and the service excellent.

We also spotted Estbek House, which we were sad not to have a chance to try - it looked like a very good "special occasion" venue; and also the fabulously-named Wits End Cafe, which was in the next bend in the road going north.

Finally, we visited the Turnstone Gallery, which contained many lovely things that we'd have been tempted by if we'd had a bit more money!

Helmsley Walled Garden

This was one of our favourite discoveries. The most tranquil, gentle place imaginable, abandoned in the 1970s and lovingly restored over the last few years, it has the spectacular backdrop of Helmsley Castle.

The cats are very much in charge, especially Boots, who is a tourist attraction in his own right:

and the cafe provides delicious refreshments in a vinehouse. The garden specialises in clematis and fruit trees, of which there are fantastic numbers. There are plants for sale, and it's altogether an unmissable experience. Visit the website to find out more.


There aren't many long beaches along the Yorkshire coast; Sandsend, near Whitby is one; and Saltburn is another. A very long set of steps (about 200) down from the road at the top to the beach; or else you can take the funicular, if it's in use when you're there:

Once on the beach, there are miles of beautiful sands. We were there in the late afternoon, and misty light was glorious, with surfers, horse-riders and dog-walkers all out in force.

Playing trains at Grosmont

Selwyn said that this made him feel about six years old.

Grosmont is a lovely little town, with at least three good places to eat: the Station Tavern, the Gallery & Jazz Cafe, and another excellent cafe (where we had delicious quiche & pork pie - one each, I hasten to add), the name of which escapes me for the moment, but which is a few steps down the hill with a charming garden.

In the background of all this, there is the fabulous steam railway. We imagine that the noise might get on your nerves after a while, but for the visitor of a couple of hours, it's great to find yourself expecting Jenny Agutter to come running along the platform! It's a working line, not just for the benefit of tourists, and a lovely step back in time.

There's also St Matthew's Church, in its tranquil setting, with beautiful birdlife - we watched the treecreepers especially as they flitted between the yew trees.

Robin Hood's Bay

Another fairly tough walk! A lovely village, which has generally managed to avoid becoming too commercialised - some nice bookshops, tea shops and the rest. This is the lovely sight when you reach the bay.

Our cottage

Continuing the theme of keeping fit, The Nook is a great little place - arranged across five floors... The front door opens to a living room. Down one flight to the basement takes you to the kitchen; up one flight to the main double bedroom; one more to the second bedroom plus bathroom; and finally the top floor is another sitting room, with the most stunning views across the bay.

A holiday in Staithes: April 2007

Here are a few of our favourite places from a week's post-Easter break in Staithes, on the beautiful Yorkshire coast.

First, the town. You'll find our location by clicking here - it's a few miles north of Whitby, and Robin Hood's Bay & Scarborough are a bit further south still.

Not for the faint-hearted or seriously out-of-condition, there is virtually no parking, so you leave the car in the car park (a bit expensive if you didn't know about it - it cost us £27 for a six-day stay) at the top of a 1 in 4 hill! (You can get down into the village to unload - just - but it's a slightly nerve-wracking experience on the cobbles, and the turning place by the beach is not that large...) This shows the hill from the top looking down, and from the bottom looking up:

But it's worth it when you reach the top.

Monday, 12 February 2007

The way you look tonight

The IMVC, including, of course, the groom, serenaded the bride in time-honoured fashion

Confetti time

Have you ever seen Ellis look so pleased with himself?

A guard of Mr Bumbles

They dress like this all the time, you know

Some of the chief players

On the steps of St James Garlickhythe

Not such a stupid boy

We none of us thought we'd see the day, but on Saturday 10th February at St James Garlickhythe in the City of London, we finally saw young Pike married. Ellis Charles Pike was taken off the hands of his many friends by the brave Claire Lapworth, in a day of Edwardian splendour, tradition and delight.

A wonderful occasion included beadles providing escort, a magnificent reception at the Guildhall, much music - especially from the Imperial Male Voice Choir (led, of course, by our very own diva Debbie Miles-Johnson); and a superb time was had by all. A small selection of photographs follow...